Overview of Pollutant Disposal Laws
It is illegal to discharge waste, oil, or trash into any District of Columbia or federally controlled waters. This is for very good reasons.
- Sewage carries disease and other pollutants that are harmful to people, aquatic plants, and animals.
- Trash thrown into the water can injure swimmers and wildlife alike. It also can plug engine-cooling water intakes.
- Pollution is unsightly and takes away from your enjoyment of the water.
Vessel operators need to be aware of the following regulations for waste, oil, and trash disposal that apply to both federally controlled and District of Columbia waters. The Refuse Act prohibits throwing, discharging, or depositing any refuse matter of any kind (including trash, garbage, oil, and other liquid pollutants) into the waters of the United States.